7 shares the pros are buying and selling

7 shares the pros are buying and selling
A roundup of trades by professional investors covering FirstGroup, Augean, Aveva, Paragon, Spirent, Weatherly and WH Ireland.

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Fitch Downgrades Tesco Credit-Linked CMBS Transactions; Off RWN

(The following statement was released by the rating agency)
LONDON, October 24 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has downgraded Tesco
Property Finance
No1. Plcs (TPFN1), TPFN2, TPFN3, TPFN4 and TPFN6 notes and
Delamare Finance Plc
notes, and taken the notes off Rating Watch Negative (RWN) as
GBP407.3m class A (XS0425412227) due July 2039: downgraded to
Negative; off RWN
GBP527.0m class A (XS0347919028) due October 2039: downgraded to
BBB-sf/Outlook Negative; off RWN
GBP946.1m class A (XS0512401976) due April 2040: downgraded to
Negative; off RWN
GBP678.2m class A (XS0588909879) due October 2040: downgraded to
BBB-sf/Outlook Negative; off RWN
GBP493.3m class A (XS0883200262) due July 2044: downgraded to
Negative; off RWN
Delamare Finance Plc
GBP382.5m class A (XS0190042522) due February 2029: downgraded
BBB-sf/Outlook Negative; off RWN
The rating actions follow similar rating actions on Tesco Plc,
to which the
transactions are credit-linked (see Fitch Downgrades Tesco to
BBB-; Negative
Outlook dated 23 October 2014 at www.fitchratings.com).
Each of the affected note classes are scheduled to fully
amortise at their
respective maturity. The transactions are all securitisations of
rental income
derived from Tesco-occupied retail stores or distribution
centres, with the
exception of 21 retail units in the Yardley development asset in
TPFN4, which
are leased to third-party retailers. However, the structure
allows for an
underpinning mechanism consisting of a rent reserve and a
subordinated loan
backed by Tesco, ultimately transferring the risk of third-party
rental income
to Tesco.
All assets were sold by Tesco and leased back to the company on
leases, all matching the term to the notes maturity. The
properties are all let
to fully-owned subsidiaries of Tesco. The obligations of all
tenants are fully
guaranteed by Tesco.
Any changes to Tescos Issuer Default Rating or Outlook would
trigger a
corresponding change in the credit-linked CMBS transactions.
Lead Surveillance Analyst
Mario Schmidt
Associate Director
+44 20 3530 1042
Fitch Ratings Limited
30 North Colonnade
London E14 5GN
Committee Chairperson
Euan Gatfield
Managing Director
+44 20 3530 1157
Media Relations: Athos Larkou, London, Tel: +44 203 530 1549,
Additional information is available at www.fitchratings.com.
The sources of information used to assess these ratings were the
servicer, and periodic cash manager and servicer reports.
Applicable criteria, Rating Criteria for Commercial
Mortgage-Backed Securities
(CMBS) and Loans in EMEA, dated 10 June 2014, Global
Structured Finance Rating
Criteria, dated 20 May 2014, are available at
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
Rating Criteria for Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS)
and Loans in
Global Structured Finance Rating Criteria
Additional Disclosure
Solicitation Status

Why Images on the Web Are a Data Blindspot and Potential Gold Mine

When then-Google exec Vic Gundotra took the stage at the companys annual developer conference, he showed a photo of the Eiffel Tower. Many in attendance automatically recognized the landmark — and so did Googles computers.

Since that milestone in May 2013, Google, along with Yahoo, Facebook and other companies, has been struggling to get at a gold mine of potential data: the millions of images flitting about the web. Image-recognition technology is the next frontier for companies that have built multibillion dollar businesses on their ability to convert data into more personalized content for audiences and better targeting for advertisers.

Theres this treasure trove of data these companies are sitting on in the form of the visual web. That data for the most part is uncategorized. Its a black box, said Justin Fuisz, CEO of Fuisz Media, a company that uses image recognition to attach branded calls to action to objects in videos.

Images account for roughly half of the content in the average Facebook news feed, the company said last year. That share has likely risen and not just on Facebook but across the web as visual social networks like Pinterest continue to grow and publishers like Vox Media and BuzzFeed post more image-heavy articles.

Cape Town’s Black River Park awarded first-ever existing building green rating

Black River ParkThe 18,675sqm North Park in the Black River Park office park in Observatory, Cape Town, has become the first building in the country to be awarded an existing building certification from the Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA), under the councils newly launched Green Star SA Existing Building Performance (EBP) pilot tool.

Black River Park, owned by Leaf Capital and Joubert Rabie, has made it their mission to secure green certification for the entire 75,000m2 office park – one of the largest business parks in the Western Cape. The park, consisting of a North and South Park, is home to more than 110 companies, including the GBCSAs head office and SAPOAs Western Cape offices.

As part of the GBCSAs first-ever existing building rating, the North Park was recognised with a 5 Star GBCSA EBP certification.

The EBP rating tool, sponsored by Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, was launched by the council in August (2014). It recognises excellence in the performance of existing or older buildings where green building innovations have been introduced to make the building more sustainable, reducing their impact on the environment.

The awarding of our first-ever Green Star SA EBP rating to a building within the Black River Office Park is a very significant milestone for the GBCSA, Misplon Green Building Consulting and the green building movement in SA, comments Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA.

We want many more owners of buildings to follow the example set by Black River Office Park. With this first EBP rating awarded, the GBCSA will go on a big drive advocating the case to get existing buildings to be retrofitted with green innovations, as these buildings make up the large majority of buildings out there, he adds.

Up until recently GBCSAs Green Star rating tools have focused largely on the design and construction of new buildings and major refurbishments – all with a design and construction elements. This had very little focus on ongoing building operations and management. The suite of current new building and major retrofit tools were aimed at only about 2% of building stock, while the newly released Green Star SA EBP tool addresses the remaining 98% of the building stock.

This existing building rating tool enables the effective measurement of a buildings environmental performance in relation to its operation and management. It provides indicators to ensure that the buildings environmental performance is efficiently maintained or improved upon over time. The new EBP rating tool is significantly differentiated by the fact that buildings can get a 1-6 star certification with this tool and the rating is valid for a period of three years in order to ensure continued efficient operation and management of the building.

Black River Park has been at the forefront of sustainable commercial real estate for over a decade and this certification confirms the strength of the management team and their commitment to sustainability. The EBP certification of a building within the park marks the completion of the first stage of Black River Parks drive to get all the office buildings at the park certified.

Black River Office Park, together with Misplon Green Building Consulting, is now in the process of preparing submission packs to secure green ratings for the remaining buildings.
Some of the green initiatives that have been undertaken for the building at the park to secure the EBP certification include:

  • The installation of the Southern Hemispheres largest rooftop Photo Voltaic System which produces electric power from sunlight. This 1.2MW system is being used to supplement and reduce the electrical load from the Citys electrical grid. It produces around 1.9GWh of electricity per year, enough to power over 1000 average-sized houses. This equates to between of 20-30% of total amount of energy used in Park, and reduces the peak demand by around 18%. It is also the first commercial project to be allowed to feed back into the grid and be remunerated for it.
  • Energy efficient lighting has been installed throughout common areas of building and is currently being rolled out into tenants premises through a joint financing initiative.
  • Ecologically friendly gardens, including a vegetable garden and fruit orchard, are maintained with borehole water pumped on site. Recycling of all garden waste is also done onsite to create mulch.
  • The park engaged with a new recycling focused waste contractor in order to reduce the amount of solid waste going to landfill and improve recycling. This is aided by the procurement and placement of recycling bins around the park to encourage sorting of waste from the source and minimising contamination.
  • Indoor air quality was a major focus with temperature, humidity, CO and CO2 tests being undertaken. This was done in conjunction with natural and artificial lighting tests.
  • Shopfronts with performance glass dominate the buildings façade in order to maximize views to outdoors for building users. This visual connection to the external environment in combination with floor to ceiling heights in excess of 3.5 meters, has the benefit of reducing eyestrain for the building occupants and contributes to a better working environment.
  • Cycling and shower facilities were made available to tenants in the parks Crossfit Gym, to encourage alternative modes of transport and a healthy and active lifestyle.
  • Education and raising awareness of greening initiatives through talks, interviews and presentations. Publication of this Building Users Guide which includes procurement and purchasing of paints, carpets, adhesives and sealants for maintenance and fit-out work.
  • Standard cleaning consumables have been exchanged with an environmentally friendly range of cleaning products and equipment
  • Implementation of a storm water management plan to recognise site related practices which limit the disruption of natural hydrology, minimise pollution and site deterioration.
  • Development of a hard services management plan to encourage environmentally sensitive hard services maintenance practices that reduce the environmental impact and improve ecology value.

While Wilkinson commended the efforts of Black River Park, he urged both the private sector and government to now also look more seriously at securing green ratings for existing buildings through the GBCSAs new certification tool.

If we want to make a bigger positive impact in making buildings more sustainable and green, existing buildings need to be targeted. Our innovative existing building rating tool aims to drive the transformation of these buildings to become more sustainable spaces, he says.

There are many older or existing buildings that can get green makeovers. Building owners need to take the initiative and show green leadership like the owners of Black River Park have done. Greener buildings are becoming more attractive to both tenants and potential investors, due in large part to their triple-bottom line commitments to not only profit and social sustainability, but environmental sustainability.

The EBP rating tool is directly aimed at the operators of existing buildings, with key focus directed at portfolio managers, owners, facilities managers and tenants. The role of the tenant is considered key to a buildings operations and thus the rating tool will also serve as a tenant awareness instrument as tenant buy-in is essential for significant uptake of the tool. Our Green Lease toolkit is a key component in the owner tenant relationship in order to set up a win-win agreement, concludes Wilkinson.

California Auto Insurance: The Cutting Edge of 1988 Technology

Think back to the information technology available in 1988: No smartphones. No tablets. No texting. No social media. No WiFi. No wireless Internet access.

The Internet, for those who knew about and had access to it, was a text-based collection of random and largely unsearchable information. The few who used email probably had an AOL or CompuServe address. The best PC-based database program was dBase III; the best spreadsheet was Lotus 1-2-3. PC users were facing the question of whether or not Windows was here to stay.

Now imagine that you are required, by law, to operate your business relying only upon the technology that was available in 1988. If you are a company writing auto insurance in California, that is precisely the situation that you face. Auto insurers in California are required, by law, to base the prices of their insurance policies using 1988 technology.

Everybody understands that different drivers reflect different risks of loss. Insurers use statistics to evaluate the likelihood that a driver will have an accident. Overall we accept this system of pricing, not because it is perfect, but because it is the fairest way available to set prices.

Insurers do whatever they can to obtain information that contributes to this analysis. In California, however, the law requires insurers to use 1988 technology to do this analysis.

In 1988 California voters approved Proposition 103, a law dictating what information an auto insurance company must use to set its rates. It required that rates be set based upon a drivers driving safety record (ie, his or her record at the DMV), the number of miles driven annually, the number of years of driving experience, and other factors that the Insurance Commissioner decides to let the insurers use.

[Mercury to Acquire Workmens Auto Insurance]

The key to this system is that these factors must be used in decreasing order of importance. This means that no matter what factors may be allowed by the Insurance Commissioner, none of those factors may influence rates more than the first three– DMV record, miles driven, and years of experience. In 1988 this may have made sense. But 26 years later there are a host of technological tools available that would allow insurers to set rates far more accurately and far more fairly.

For example, with current technology it would be simple for a driver to install an application on his or her smartphone, or in the computer system of the car, that would give precise data about that drivers actual driving practices. A few weeks of data showing how fast a person drove, whether he or she was prone to rapid acceleration or frantic braking, and whether the driver primarily drove through busy city streets or empty country roads would tell far more about a driver than does a DMV record. Technology-based recording of actual miles driven would be far more accurate than the estimates currently employed by most insurers. In California, however, these systems would be illegal and are not available.

Privacy considerations may require a law saying that drivers should not be compelled to use such data-gathering technology, but in California the technology is not permitted even if a driver wants to use it. If this technology were permitted, the drivers who were confident enough in their driving skills could sign up for such monitoring voluntarily, and they would surely be rewarded for doing so through lower insurance rates. California doesnt allow this. The California law says that rates must be set based upon the technology available in 1988, no matter what the driver wants.

This problem will only get worse as technology advances. There are already cars on the road equipped with technology that will apply the brakes and stop the car, thus preventing an accident even if the driver does nothing. Surely a driver who purchases a car with this technology should get less expensive insurance, but this cannot happen in California. Since the technology was not available in 1988, insurers in California are prohibited from giving discounts to drivers whose cars have this safety feature.

And self-driving cars– autonomous vehicles– are right around the corner. What sense does it make to require by law that the most important factor in setting insurance prices is the driver safety record if the driver is really just a passenger in an autonomous vehicle?

The effect of Prop 103 is that insurers in California are required to set insurance prices using only the technology that was available in 1988. To make matters worse, Prop 103 severely limited the power of the Legislature to make changes to the law. The only way that the current law could be significantly changed is with another ballot measure.

For the foreseeable future, therefore, auto insurance companies must set prices using only 1988 technology.

Bill Gausewitz is a partner in the firm of Michelman and Robinson, LLP. He is a member of the firms Regulatory and Administrative group. View Full Bio

Extra money for Suffolk children’s services

Extra money has been granted to Suffolk County Council to help it improve its work with children and families.

Suffolk County Council has secured £350,000 from the Department for Education’s Innovations Project grant of £4.7 million.

It is hoped this will help them to implement the Signs of Safety programme across Suffolk’s children’s services.

The programme for implementing Signs of Safety in Suffolk began in February 2014.

To date, over 1000 staff from within children and young people’s services and partner agencies including the police, schools, the voluntary sector, health and housing have received initial training.

Feedback from families who have experienced the changes in the way Suffolk County Council is working has been very positive.

The county council chose Signs of Safety as the preferred model due to the long track record of success the programme has brought worldwide.

Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Our duty to protect our children and young people in Suffolk is undoubtedly our top priority as a county council.

“Our staff work tirelessly, day in, day out to ensure this group remain safe and supported.

“The Signs of Safety framework is well-esteemed and internationally recognised and helps us to work alongside families to enable them to make positive changes.

“This money will allow us to align policies and systems so that we can work as efficiently and effectively as possible.

“This funding will allow us to build on and accelerate practice in Suffolk and allow us to deepen our work with world-class experts who are committed to making transformational changes for the difficult, complex and contentious work of keeping children safe and helping struggling families.”

Terry Murphy, the lead child protection consultant working with Suffolk over the past year, said: “Suffolk is gaining more momentum and getting earlier results than I have seen anywhere else internationally with their implementation of Signs of Safety.

“By applying it to all children’s services and taking a strong and comprehensive approach to implementation, they are setting a great example for how to bring about better outcomes for children and families in England.”

Green building is an economic necessity says Nedbank Executive

While questions have arisen about the potential crushing effects of the recent economic situation on the trend toward green building and retrofitting, Nedbank Corporate Property Finance regional executive, Ken Reynolds has concluded that the value of green building remains strong.

With rising operating costs and the economic slowdown in South Africa likely to have an impact on commercial property developments within the next few months, it is an opportune time for developers to explore the business case for green buildings further.

Reynolds says that increasingly, there are significant advantages to develop new buildings or redevelop existing buildings along green principles. One of these is the reduction in operating costs that green buildings can deliver. Already, Nedbank has found that building or retrofitting properties using green design principles has the ability to reduce operating costs by around 30% per year.

He adds that technological developments, cheaper input costs on green materials and higher electricity tariffs means that organisations are often able to recoup the cost of green designs and construction within a three year period.

The market has moved on when it comes to the upfront costs associated with green buildings. In the past, there was a premium to pay for developing green star buildings, possibly as high as 5% for a 4 star building. However, this premium has substantially diminished.

For example, previously, there was virtually no payback from installing photovoltaic cells. Now, it is possible to get a payback within a five year range. Historically, there was limited green product, such as eco-friendly paint, on the market, therefore developers had to pay a premium for these. That, however, is no longer an issue, as suppliers across the board are more aware of the need and have made such product available.

Reynolds anticipates that green properties are likely to experience lower vacancy rates in the future and potentially levy higher rentals as buildings that are designed to accommodate energy efficiency and carry unique features that focus on environmental sustainability, are likely to become more attractive to tenants across commercial, retail and residential property.

Many corporates are insisting on having a green rating on their buildings in order to reduce their carbon footprint, improve staff working conditions and project a certain image. In addition, lower utility costs on these buildings means owners can charge more for the base rental, while still maintaining flat net rental costs for tenants.

As a result, premiums in net rentals of up to 10% are achievable and the capatilisation rate applied to the property to derive its value may show an improvement of up to 50 points.

Reynolds says that there are also advantages for developers of green buildings from a financing perspective. The higher rentals and increased capital values means developers and owners can often attain a better credit rating and increased access to borrowings.

He adds that Nedbank, as part of its Fairshare 2030 programme, is committed to ensuring 1% of its lending, or R6bn, is allocated to future-proofing the country, which includes socially responsible lending and carbon footprint reduction. The financing of green buildings is therefore a big part of the banks strategy. This lending is to be done within the banks normal lending criteria.

He adds that with Nedbank already leading the way in occupying green buildings, such as those in Sandton, Durban and Pretoria, as well as the recently occupied Nedbank Lakeview (JHB) and soon-to-be-occupied Nedbank Newton Junction and Majestic, the bank has first-hand experience as both a financier and occupier of the commercial benefits of green buildings.

We back these initiatives and believe everyone should be using green principles in the development of their buildings.

He advises that for developers looking to build or re-develop a building along green principles, it is crucial to incorporate these elements at the beginning of the process. There are many elements that are inexpensive that can be implemented to improve a buildings green star rating. However, trying to incorporate green elements half way through a development can be extremely difficult. It is therefore important to bring in the right team of experts to assist right from the start.

SA REIT Conference to focus on best practice reporting

Johannesburg, 8 September 2014, BizNews.

The South African Real Estate Investment Trust Association (SA REIT) will host the first-ever SA REIT Conference in Sandton next month, offering direct access to an unprecedented panel of the brightest international minds and key local players active in the REIT sector.

The one-day senior management conference, sponsored by Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, will dish up the latest intelligence from around the world on doing REITs right, as well as extraordinary insight into the biggest issues and opportunities for the listed property sector in South Africa.

The Conference, which will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre on October 22, will feature a first-rate programme, offering excellent insight and debate on the burgeoning sector.

International speakers include global industry leaders who will highlight a diversity of sector focuses from attracting a flow of funds and the best practice for investment, to decoding what makes listed property unique from other investments.

London-based Kari Pitkin, Managing Director and head of EMEA Real Estate, Gaming and Lodging for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, will delve into the realm of funding, specifically debt funding, and also focus on the latest trends.

Renowned for being a straight talker, Andrew Parsons, MD of Resolution Capital in Australia, will examine principles of corporate governance and investment best practice, with a special emphasis on the property industry, providing delegates with key lessons from a global perspective.

From Belgium, Fraser Hughes, Deputy CEO of the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA) will shed light on attracting retail investors to listed property and will unlock research on the benefits of listed versus direct property. EPRA represents Europe’s publicly listed property companies.

Global stage

Chairman of the SA REIT Association, Laurence Rapp, comments: “With South Africa’s listed property sector entering a new era of REITs in 2013 and adopting a best-of-breed internationally-recognised structure, we have truly stepped onto a global stage and opened up to a more diverse pool of investors.

“This also means being held to the highest international standards. To this end, we have put together a conference which features a comprehensive programme of local and global listed property REITs thought leaders and opinion makers who will share their exceptional knowledge, experience and insights.”

He adds the event is designed to equip delegates with a broad understanding of the latest influences and innovations around REITs in South Africa and across the world, as well as sound approaches to opportunities and challenges in the market place. “It is also a meeting place for the sharpest minds in the industry.”

Mfundo Nkuhlu, Managing Executive of Nedbank Corporate, sponsors of this inaugural conference, says: “The relative stability of the listed property sector is what has been its main appeal to investors. Adding to this stability and attractiveness was the introduction of the REIT structure, which is aimed to enable SA listed property to become even more internationally appealing and competitive, thus facilitating even further growth.

“As leaders in commercial property finance, we are proud to be associated with this inaugural conference and its objectives as we continue to show our commitment to the property market from a holistic perspective.”

While this is the maiden conference of the SA REIT Association, South Africa has a well-developed listed property sector with a solid track record of performance for its investors.

Today, there are 30 SA REITs listed on the JSE. The SA REIT Association represents South Africa’s listed REIT sector. SA REIT members comprise all listed SA REITs and represent around R250 billion worth of real estate assets.

For more information: visit www.sareit.com and follow @SA_REIT on twitter.

Clients Can Find Affordable Auto Insurance By Following 3 Easy Steps

PR Web

(PRWEB) October 25, 2014

Lowcostcarsinsurance.com has released a new blog post explaining how to find affordable auto insurance by following 3 simple steps.

When searching for auto insurance clients should always compare quotes before deciding what plan to buy. Having vehicle coverage is mandatory in most states and it is an important policy that provides important financial security.

Although most states require liability coverage, clients should purchase additional coverage for their vehicles. If they find the rates too high, comparing online auto insurance quotes is the best method of cutting insurance costs.

Clients can compare various quotes simply by entering their ZIP code. There are many agencies and the offer is varied enough to find cheap coverage for any car.

Lowcostcarsinsurance.com is an online provider of life, home, health, and auto insurance quotes. This website is unique because it does not simply stick to one kind of insurance provider, but brings the clients the best deals from many different online insurance carriers. In this way, clients have access to offers from multiple carriers all in one place: this website. On this site, customers have access to quotes for insurance plans from various agencies, such as local or nationwide agencies, brand names insurance companies, etc.

Lowcostcarsinsurance.com is owned by Internet Marketing Company.

For more information, please visit http://lowcostcarsinsurance.com .

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/affordableautoinsurance/getautoinsurancequotes/prweb12277589.htm